All the Dead Are Known

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By Wezi Tjaronda WINDHOEK The victims of the road carnage near Grootfontein have all been identified after a post-mortem was finalized yesterday. And although the National Steering Committee coordinating the response to the national tragedy informed New Era that the list of names of the victims was done, the police public relations office said it did not have the names yet at the time of going to press. Six of the seven Zimbabweans who were killed in the carnage were from one family, the Chairperson of the National Steering Committee, Eugene Tendekule, said. A Zimbabwean daily newspaper named the victims in yesterday’s paper as Lovemore Tienga, his son Jonathan Junior, his wife Sifeleni Zindonga, his younger brother Christopher Tienga, his wife Privilege Muchiwa and nephew Leon Dube. Tendekule said the family members of the Zimbabwean nationals who are in the country and who assisted with the identification said they were members of one family even though their surnames do not reflect this. Seven more were from the Caprivi, while the remaining three were Oshi- wambo and Otjiherero speaking. Tendekule said the committee would finalise transportation arrangements today for the remains to Caprivi and Zimbabwe, an issue that has been delayed due to some issues that are yet to be resolved. He said the committee would have preferred to airlift the victims but at the moment it is not known whether they would be able to get such a service provider. “Whether we will use the services of the NDF or another service provider depends on the costs and what we can afford,” he said. The committee is also in touch with the Governor of Caprivi, Bernard Sibalatani, to see whether there is the possibility of a mass burial like the one of the victims of last year’s accident when 28 people died. “The governor will take it up with the family members and we wait to be advised on their response,” he said, adding that now that the major hurdle of identifying the bodies was over, the process would move faster. The committee hopes that the remains will be laid to rest before the Christmas festivities start, said the chairman, who is also the deputy director of the National Road Safety Council. Meanwhile, communities in Rundu will this afternoon hold a memorial service in honour of the victims, which will be attended by family members of the victims, said Tendekule. Due to time constraints, people from the Caprivi will hold another service for victims that come from that region at a later stage but before the burial, he said. The committee last week opened a bank account to solicit funds to assist the bereaved families. So far, the committee has received N$10 000 from Namdeb, N$5 000 from Nedbank and N$2 000 from the Electricity Control Board. Tendekule appealed for more funds for the family members of the victims who are being accommodated in Grootfontein and Tsumeb. “We need to feed the family members that are accommodated in Grootfontein and Tsumeb. We are providing them with accommodation and subsistence allowances,” he said. The details of the account number are: Grootfontein Accident Fund 12/14, Bank Windhoek, branch number 48192 and account number 1140765513. The Zimbabwean Ambassador to Namibia has also expressed his condolences to all Namibian and Zimbabweans families who lost their loved ones in the accident. “Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this bereavement,” said Ambassador Stanislaus Chigwedere.